Trump and the parties pathways to victory

DSC_0308

I know why all the GOP candidates didn’t take on Trump in the first GOP debate – they’re afraid of him.  Afraid he’d turn the audience against them; afraid he might sue them if they crossed him; and afraid that he’ll run as a third party candidate.  And he just might if enough of the field were to attack him at some point.  Their strategy was to go easy on Trump and not goad him into slinging zingers, like the one he slang on Rand Paul who tried to call him out early on.

Almost everyone has written the Donald off as a serious candidate, and possibly even conservatives who until the debate, liked what they heard, but I wouldn’t write him off just yet.  He might continue to surprise and could even win the nomination.  And if he did, and the GOP united in support of him, which seems unlikely, but if they did, he would give Hillary Clinton a good fight, though she would win with ease.

In my opinion, Trump would be the least electable of the lot, alongside Gov. Rick Perry, Senator Lindsay Graham whose candidacy makes me think of House of Cards, Gov. Jindal who had the awkward family reveal, and Gov. Huckabee whose incendiary rhetoric is both dangerous and pitiful. The most electable candidates and the ones Democrats like me should fear the most are Gov. Jeb Bush, Senator Marco Rubio, Gov. Rick Kasich and Gov. Scott Walker.  The union busting Walker may have some appeal outside the Midwest where people tend to hate teachers and the unions who protect them. Marcus Rubio may gain the backing of several billionaires in the coming months and whip the tea party into a frenzy with his memorized talking points.  Rick Kasich, who I first thought was the lead vocalist for the band the Cars, appears to be a moderate who could draw support in others regions, not the South, and take some votes from Jeb Bush.  And of course if Jeb Bush wakes up and finds a little fire in his belly, he could emerge as the one to beat.  But none of the candidates did themselves much of a favor in the debates.  They sounded scripted, timid and uninspiring.

The question is, will the Republican base turn out to vote for Rubio? If Bush were nominated, would the base support him or throw their support to Trump, the spoiler.  Bush and Rubio are Clinton’s biggest threats.  Which is why her best pathway to victory is for Trump to run as an Independent if not nominated by the GOP.  And though he’d take some of her votes, he’d take more away from the GOP as disaffected right wingers – who don’t believe in science, regulations, the separation of church and state and who generally don’t like government and prefer it be run as a business, because we all know that corporations are people – clamor to register their angst. But this scenario could also have the effect of turning out both bases of the two parties.  The GOP’s best pathway to victory, then, will be to continue to push voter suppression laws, because if the elderly, students, Blacks and Latinos can’t vote, many of whom are registered Democrats, it’s all over for the former first lady, Senator and Secretary of State. It is.

Marco “Polo” Rubio quite the explorer

078Marco “Polo” Rubio made his announcement for the Presidency recently in Miami.  He said that after months of prayer, he came to the conclusion that he wanted to serve his country which he referred to in the feminine case:  “I have come here tonight to make an announcement on how I can best serve her.”  By the end of the speech, it was still not clear how he would serve her.  He sounded like your typical Republican. He’d repeal and replace Obamacare, with what is anyone’s guess; he’d modernize immigration, how is unclear.  He referenced a Prince album in an attack on the democratic party leadership saying they “put us at a disadvantage by taxing, borrowing and regulating like it’s 1999.” Rubio is said to be a fan of “old school” rap, and as one must know, Prince is anything but old school and rap.  Perhaps he doesn’t like or respect Prince.

His “namesake” Marco Polo, (well it might be) on the other hand, had nothing but admiration for “royalty”, serving in the “court” of Kublai Khan in self-imposed exile from the Holy Roman Empire.  Many Venetians thought Marco Polo made up his Asian travelogues, though he claimed he told nothing but the truth and later was proven to have done just that.  Unlike Polo, Marco Rubio was initially less than truthful about his family story, saying that they had escaped Castro and came to America as exiles.  In his speech, he walked back this story saying his family left Cuba in 1956 to fulfill a dream.  This would have been some 3 years before Castro came to power, so it was not that his poor family was being persecuted, it was more that his family wanted to improve their economic status, a sort of self-imposed exile, just like the many millions of undocumented immigrants who are living in the States today.  So his reference to modernizing immigration policy is intriguing.  Does he mean modernize the fence?  Or does he mean amnesty for all?  Does he mean to continue to modernize Cuba – U.S. relations, as President Obama has started, or does he mean to place more quotas on who can come to the U.S? Does modernize mean a guest worker program or does it mean fast track to citizenship for hard working families like his immigrant parents?

To remind that he is still allied with the Tea Party fringe lest we forget, he bashes students who graduate with debt and degrees that don’t lead to jobs.  And he suggests that parents should have more control over their child’s education. This could mean that he favors homeschooling or more charter schools.  Or it could mean that he’d favor eliminating subjects that are not related to employer needs.  I guess that means anthropology, sociology, the arts and hard sciences are out.  There’s not a big demand for dancers at Fortune 500 companies. Walmart has no plans to hire many geologists. And big oil certainly does not need a bunch of “liberal” climatologists snooping around making trouble.

Like Marco Polo, Marco Rubio is an explorer.  He’s playing around with different messages to see if he can find something that resonates with voters.  Many Italians found Polo interesting, but didn’t fully believe his strange tales. Rubio is searching for a path to appease the right and appeal to the center where Jeb Bush supporters live.  And while he thinks he’s ready for the presidency, this announcement is really nothing more than an exploration.  Young Marco knows deep down that he needs to wait his turn.